no-press

Did you send out hundreds of emails to reporters and not receive a single reply?

Have you just launched your app and received no press coverage?

Don’t panic: in this post, you will discover seven things you should do when the press won’t cover your app launch.

1. Pitch Niche Blogs

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Unlike tech blogs, niche blogs do NOT need your app to be released the past 3-5 days to be considered for a review.

There are a few things you should know about what apps a technology blog will cover:

  • Apps that have been released or updated within the past 3-5 days.
  • If it’s an update then it should be a significant update, not just “bug fixes.”
  • They get a LOT of pitches.

Even if you do manage to get press on a tech blog, it’s always good to approach niche blogs (eg. mommy blogs, food blogs, or personal bloggers).

The audience on these sites will generally be more specific to your target market and may end up generating more downloads than a mention on a tech blog.

If you do manage to get press on a tech blog, make sure to mention it in your pitch to the niche blogs.

While niche blogs generate less traffic and less pitches, it’s always important to show some social proof when pitching them (especially if you got coverage on a tech blog).

A great way to find popular niche blogs is do a Google search for “top [niche] blogs.” You will likely find a blog post that has a list of the popular blogs in your target niche.

2. Look for HARO Opportunities

Help a Reporter Out (HARO) is a website where journalists go to look for sources for their stories.

Using the service, I’ve been able to land podcast interviews and mentions on Fast Company and Entrepreneur.com.

It’s a great service to get exposure for your business and backlinks to your site. While this may not translate into direct downloads, you should be able to leverage the press coverage into possibly more coverage on niche blogs or even tech blogs.

You can also update your App Store screenshots and descriptions with copy that says you were featured on the big publications.

HARO is a free service where you receive daily emails with stories where journalists are looking for sources. You then pitch journalists with a unique email address provided within the HARO email. While sifting through all the inquiries can be time-consuming, landing coverage on a major site can make it all worth it.

3. Get User Feedback

I believe in getting user feedback as early in the development process as possible. However, if the press decides to pass on your app launch, it may be a good idea to get even more user feedback.

Use a site like UserTesting to get brutal feedback from users. You want to find out what they like most about your app and what’s the one thing they would change about it.

Remember, updates become another opportunity for press, so if you completely overhaul the app or add new features based on the feedback, then this is something worth mentioning to the reporter in your pitch.

4. Work on an update

Generally, media outlets want to cover new apps, so an app update is a little more difficult to get coverage for. However, app updates are still a great opportunity for press.

Note that it is generally best to pitch new version updates rather than small ones. For example, it’s better to pitch version 2.0 instead of version 1.6. From a PR perspective, 2.0 sounds way more enticing.

Make sure your "Update Notes" match with the features you are including in your press pitch.

Make sure your “Update Notes” match with the features you are including in your press pitch.

When pitching your app update, think of your  “Update Notes” in iTunes Connect as marketing copy and make sure they match with the features you are including in your press pitch.

Since app updates are a bit harder to get press for, we generally advise our clients to release their updates earlier in the week (Monday or Tuesday) to avoid the new apps that will be released on Wednesday and Thursday.

5. Localization

Localizing an app has led to 10X more downloads for past guests of the podcast.

Localizing an app has led to 10X more downloads for past guests of the podcast.

Contrary to popular belief, App Store Optimization (ASO) is still a viable strategy to getting more downloads for your app. Assuming that you did your ASO work before you launched, it’s time to start thinking about localization.

I typically like to localize my apps after I launch, since I have data on what other countries my app is somewhat successful in. It is also a good practice to look at competing apps to see which countries they perform well in. This will give you an indication on what languages to target for your localization efforts.

Localizing an app has led to 10X more downloads for past guests of the podcast. While localization can be a sizable investment, there are ways to localize your mobile app affordably.

6. Run a Paid-to-Free Campaign

An apps gone free campaign can generate thousands to tens of thousands of downloads for your app. It can also lead to your app becoming a trending search term in the App Store.

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Become a trending search term in the App Store by running a paid to free campaign.

While this campaign is best executed on paid apps, you can run this campaign for one of your in-app purchases.

It’s important to note that the in-app purchase you choose must be a non-consumable type. According to Apple, “non-consumable In-App Purchases only need to be purchased once by users. Services that do not expire or decrease with use are usually implemented as non-consumables, such as new race tracks for a game app.”

non-consumable-itunes

To run a paid to free campaign for an IAP, make sure it is a non-consumable type.

Here’s a blog post that details how to run an apps gone free campaign where one of our clients generated 100K downloads in a weekend.

7. Write About the App on Medium.com

When all else fails, write about your app on Medium.com, a site where many early adopters, along with journalists, go to read in-depth articles written by the community.

When launching my app, oSnap, I wrote a controversial article entitled Hey Apple, I just fixed your camera app, which immediately went viral. The website Designer News picked up the article and I had 10,000 views in a matter of days.

My Medium.com post generated 10K views in a couple of days.

Writing on Medium.com can lead to bigger publications re-printing the article.

I then leveraged the popularity of the post in my press outreach and managed to land coverage for oSnap on The Next Web.

In fact, a friend of mine, Charlyn Keating, implemented the same strategy. “I pitched to a couple of reporters and got no hits. So, I wrote an article on Medium and shared it around. It got a lot of attention (went viral). Then I emailed a reporter at Business Insider to tell her about it. She reprinted it that day and doubled my traffic.”

Here’s her Medium article and the Business Insider reprint.

Conclusion

If your app launch doesn’t go according to your ideal plan (which it generally doesn’t), there’s no reason to panic. Use the strategies outline above to iterate on your app and utilize other marketing channels to get traction.

Steve Young

Founder at AppMasters
I started building apps in 2011 and my first app hit #8 under educational games. I started making a few hundred dollars a month, but had no idea what I was doing. Then in 2013 I decided to start a podcast so I could pick the brains of app creators that I admired including the co-founder of Shazam, Tapbots, Crossy Road, etc and that changed everything.

Now I run an app marketing agency where we’ve helped 8 clients get featured by Apple, 5X downloads with ASO, and get coverage on Techcrunch, Mashable, Venture Beat and other major publications. I also write about apps on The Next Web, Entrepreneur.com, and on my blog AppMasters.co.

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